47

47 is a median age in Germany and Japan. Wait… what?

I am slowly approaching the age that effectively puts me over into a different category of people. Not old and not really young, just another phase within middle aged, the northeast corner of the baby boomers’ kids generation, the original 90s crowd. I will confess, however, that all this lead-up is not an attempt at another sob story from someone witnessing the inevitable- wrinkly skin, bad breath, and the ever increasing slowness. This is nothing but a quest for an encouraging account or evidence that not all is lost and that the northeast corner is not as lonely a place as it seems. I am about to turn 47 in a few days. 

I turned to one of my best friends in this lone, digitally toxic world – Google- for some answers. As it turns out, I am not the only 46-year old looking for some pointers and feel good factoids. And far from being the only 46-year old on the brink (or just past) of the 47 mark.

First, celebrities. As I look at them, despite their celebrity status, there are flaws. And flaws again. Which I, naturally, do not have. As it turns out, I am superior to most of these so called popular kids.

Dwayne Johnson, May 2 he turned 47. He’s big, rich and funny. And doesn’t look a day older than 40. I am not rich or big but possess certain comedian quality improv skills that will send good ol’ Dwayne through the door and outside the comedy club to never come back. After all, he’s got a script and I don’t.

Snoop Dog will blow the candles on October 20. Same rich, but not funny at least to me and looks kind of sickly. He actually looks like he’s got a permanently lit joint inside his skull. That’s one more for me folks. I don’t have a joint inside my skull. I happen to live in a state that has not got the guts to decriminalize a rather innocent spice.

Speaking of spice. Geri Halliwell, aka Ginger Spice of the Spice Girls. A model, dancer, singer, she turned 47 on Aug 2. I have nothing, she’s just hot. Or used to be. Actually, I am still hot. Because – see above – I live in a good, clean state.

Sophie Vergara, July 10. Boy she’s hot, even hotter than Geri. Can’t compete there, to be honest. But she’s older than me … so there, it’s all good.

Jared Leto, December 26. The guy looks like Jesus and he’s conveniently born right after the big man himself. Sacrilegious? Oh, who knows. I myself don’t have that conflict of interest.

Willie Robertson wore a birthday hat back in April. He’s one of Duck Dynasty people (I had to look it up … not that there is anything wrong with Duck Dynasty). His birthday hat was likely made of wild turkey feathers. He may be a good looking guy underneath all that ungodly hair but who can really tell? Another one for me … K-POW! I shave clean, babe.

There is a really cool guy in the 47 club that I truly admire – Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Feb 17. Respect, dude.

So looks like we’re done with pop culture. But what about sports people? Politicians? Entrepreneurs? Let’s spend a little time here.

Kevin Plank, founder and CEO of Under Armour, turned 47 in August. He’s worth $3.5Bn and is successful all around. Fantastic track record, used to play football, supports this and that cause, Forbes top 40 under 40 etc. etc. Well, let’s see. He’s in Baltimore, I’m in Philly – east coast just gave me a point. I am married to a fashion designer, so that’s another point. He’s clearly into sports and technology – that’s another solid 2-pointer for me. I can go on and on but won’t. The point is – it’s people like Kevin that make us 46-ers believe that anything is possible.

Looking overseas, it’s clear that 47 in the US is an equivalent to teenage years in some not so well off countries. As sad as it is, Chad (African nation) has the lowest life expectancy with average lifespan of 50 years. Afghanistan and Gabon are not so far from that either. Russia (mothership of mine) can’t directly compare to these African and Asian nations but people in their 40’s look way older than our own 50-year olds. Combination of cold climate, permanent stress and pretty shitty diet are main causes.

So let’s come back to a 46-er perspective. Is 47 considered middle age, a question popped up in Google. And here’s the answer, according to English Oxford dictionary and US Census: middle age is between 45 and 65. Say what??? I am not in the northeast corner? I am barely across the line? Given my youthful looks, clean shave and enviable sense of humor, a stranger would’ve pinned me on a “just turned 40” board anyway.

Moving on, 47 is not almost 50, it’s actually still called mid-40’s. Ha!
What a discovery! Almost 50 starts at 48, so I have another year to enjoy this small but important distinction.

On a very serious note (and it takes a Goliath effort out of me to be
serious), it is very much a matter of perspective and sensibility. What I
didn’t know when I was a young hound is that 30 is not old. 50 or 70 are not old either. I dismissed older people like many other young people did then and do now and, let’s be honest, always will. What I also didn’t realize back then is how youthful and energetic I’d feel in my mid-40’s, despite certain physical properties losing their once unlimited ability, such as consuming alcohol all night long and heading to class the next morning. It’s odd but my 74-year old dad is more youthful now that I remember him in his 30’s or 40’s. Call it a worm-like regenerative process. Minus things growing back of course, like my hair.

I am glad I had this conversation. It let me feel good, uncover a few unexpected facts and learn a little. There is only one thing that remains – I need to learn either German or Japanese. Better yet, learn French and move to Monaco, their median age is 52, and I am just a puppy by their standards!

Dad’s vacation

I recently went on a two-week beach vacation, a mention worthy event on its own since I hadn’t taken two weeks straight in a very long time.

I have three kids – all boys ranging from 15 months to six and a half years. I thought I knew my kids before but we spent so much time together that I ended up learning quite a bit more. Think of it as a kids emersion training, kind of like learning French. Here’s some of what I learned and some more, while it’s still fresh.

  1. I realized I love dining with my kids. We tend to go to fancier places, because “honey, after all we are on a vacation, let’s do something nicer” but kids don’t care if it’s a $3 plate or $10 plate, they aren’t eating their meals anyway, and so I end up finishing theirs. Which like I said tend to be pretty good options (like an absolute delight of a bacon cheeseburger that my oldest one simply couldn’t push down his throat anymore).
  2. Their kind of fun is surprisingly the same as my kind of fun. I mean, sun, sea, sand tunnels – they know no age boundaries. The kind of fun that completely wears them out by day end, they pass out faster than usual so we can have more of uniquely our kind of fun.
  3. Their behavior that ranges from squealing kind of whining to bickering and outright fighting is much easier to handle. You are so exhilarated not to be at work or deal with any kind of domestic challenges that you love everything and everyone, for two weeks you turn into a Tibetan monk only in a warm and balmy climate. You actually love your children and everything about them. LOVE them and their nasty behaviors. If it gets too much, you just focus your attention on a pretty dune or a seagull. Anything goes. Don’t even need an Om.
  4. It is for that same reason – your complete detachment from the real world – that you cough up a ton of money on food and entertainment. The wife’s “honey…” statement reinforces what must be done, gents.
  5. You grow to appreciate electronic gadgets, availability of WiFi networks and the digital content revolution beyond any parental instincts. After all, the uniquely our kind of fun often takes us past midnight, and hardly ever sober, and so when the oldest and the middle one wake up at 7, they don’t need to ask for an iPad. They know where to find it, and they know you won’t mind. Because vacations are sacred.
  6. The kind of movies they watch leaves you wondering what happened to this fine art form. However, it’s right in your face, and you start paying attention, and following the story, and after 7 or 8 replays you actually end up having conversations with your three year old about Scooby Doo. I mean, why not? That’s what vacations are for.
  7. You spent such a long time with them side by side that you start noticing actual physical changes. Getting taller, gaining weight, muscle build up… it is an odd change from an hour a day routine plus weekends to a 24/7 routine for two weeks. My oldest tried out a surf board and it somewhat worked for him. And I thought, hmm, that’s cool and I had no idea he can do that!
  8. You are learning all kinds of things about your kids. After a couple of drinks you start thinking while they are misbehaving, oh they got that sense of humor from me, or they have my energy in them. And the younger one, he’s just my copy, the way he eats or moves or farts or whatever. Your eyes get all misty – a mix of booze making its way through the veins and a monk like attitude towards everything. This is generally the time you get along well with your wife, the in laws if they are present, even your boss if he or she happens to be there too.

The list can go on and on. I don’t want to dwell on it because it’s late and I have to get up early, pack 5 lunches, wipe 3 butts and get everybody out the door so the boss who I loved so much not a week ago won’t give me an evil eye. Like I said, vacations are sacred and we need to cherish them. Just like our kids, really.